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Homebuyers Say ‘Homecomings’ Cheats

MINNEAPOLIS (CN) - Homecomings Financial Network charges improper, abusive fees to drive homebuyers into default, a class-action complaint claims in Federal Court. Among the abuses, plaintiffs say, are illegal, excessive fees for electronic processing of mortgage payments, and "multiple, unnecessary 'property inspection' fees, sometimes on a monthly basis, and sometimes multiple times in one month. When customers call to ask why the fee was assessed, Homecomings responds that it needs to confirm that someone is still living in the house."

The complaint continues: "Homecoming also abuses the practice of 'force-placed insurance.' Mortgage servicers institute force-placed insurance when a borrower has not renewed his or her existing policy. But Homecomings force-places insurance when the borrower already has an existing policy of hazard insurance in place. In addition, Homecomings places insurance at unconscionably high rates, well above market rates, with no added benefit to the insured.

"Homecomings structures account statements in a way that makes it extremely difficult or impossible for borrowers to determine how much they owe, or how any mortgage payment will be allocated. When customers call for clarification, or to correct a charge they believe is in error, Homecomings divers customers through a remote, understaffed and undertrained call center hotline. Customers seldom or never talk with the same representative twice, and the representative on the line is almost always looking at the customer's account for the first time. Homecomings representatives regularly refuse to or fail to provide necessary information or to correct problems."

Plaintiffs demand punitive damages for deceptive trade for a nationwide class. They are represented by Sprenger & Lang of Minneapolis.

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